Junk mail could be banned from Sliema if a new bye-law proposed by the Sliema council comes into effect. 

A set of six new bye-laws, currently being drafted, are expected to tackle cleanliness and tidiness in the locality, with measures that demand more responsibility and enforcement. The document is being scrutinised by the council’s lawyers.

“Mail being thrown around on the street and spilling over from vacant properties is not helping efforts to keep Sliema tidy,” mayor Anthony Chircop told Times of Malta. 

On the oft-debated topic of unsolicited mail, the proposed bye-law would “negate the placing of junk mail in any public space” in the locality. No such leaflets would be allowed to be distributed to residents with notes stating ‘no junk mail’ on their letter boxes. A fine of no more than €70 per infraction is being proposed.

In January 2016, the Environment Ministry, led by then Minister Leo Brincat, launched a public consultation on unaddressed and unsolicited promotional mail.  However, following a cabinet reshuffle in April that year a ministry spokeswoman said that a second round of consultations were in the pipeline. 

Mail thrown on the street and spilling from vacant properties

A 2009 Budget initiative had proposed to levy a tax on unsolicited printed material, but it was scrapped after vocal opposition from industry stakeholders. 

Another bye-law proposed in the document aims to control the placement of commercial booths within the locality. Taking particular aim at the congregation that gather on The Strand in Sliema, the proposals would require the booths to be spaced at least 50 metres away from one another to “limit an ‘invasion’ along the same stretch”. 

A proposed fine, if approved, would charge offenders €50, with an added €10 for every offence. 

“These booths operate with no permission as there is no licence that covers them,” Mr Chircop said. 

“These by-laws are intended to give more clarity on what can and cannot happen.” 

These booths operate with no permission as there is no licence that covers them

The other four proposals seek to hold catering establishments responsible for cleaning around their premises, fine residents for taking out waste outside of collection times, require outdoor activities to be covered by a permit from the local council at a fee (this was not yet defined) and control the use of ‘advertising vehicles’ by giving the council the authority to remove such vehicles at their discretion. 

The setting of bye-laws needs to be approved by the minister responsible for local government, in this case Owen Bonnici. 

Draft bye-laws, which are not approved by the council or which are objected to by the minister, cannot be tabled again before a period of six months from the date that they have failed to gain approval approved or have been objected to. 

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